Prof. Harry Bermudez Interviewed by ACS Chemical and Engineering News

Harry Bermudez

Before Harry Bermudez was even born, his parents decided to pack up and leave their home, family, and friends in Colombia to make a new life in New York City. It wasn’t an easy move, Bermudez says. They had a three-year-old child, Bermudez’s older brother, and they had to leave behind the life they had known. But economic and political factors drove them to the U.S., which Bermudez says was like a beacon of hope for them.

The family settled in Queens. Bermudez’s mother, who is now retired, worked in home health care, and his father found work as a facilities manager. He’s still working, in fact, at an age when most of his contemporaries have happily retired. “He’s a workaholic,” Bermudez says. “I get that from him.”

Bermudez’s parents encouraged him to do well in school. “For their children to get an education and a college degree was important,” he says. An aptitude for science drew Bermudez to Brooklyn Technical High School, and it was there he developed a true interest in science and technology. “I had some great teachers who challenged us as students to not just memorize material for exams but to try to develop a curiosity about the world around us,” he recalls. “If you think about chemistry being the central science, that’s easy to do.”

Read the full article by Bethany Halford, ACS News: ACS Chemical and Engineering News

Image Credit: John Solem/UMASS Amherst